We treated 28 patients (16 women and 12 men) who had essential tremor with methazolamide. Their median age was 69 years (range, 34 to 89 years), and the median duration of tremor was 16 years (range, less than 1 to 69 years). Fifteen cases were familial and 13 were sporadic. Improvement in 10 patients who continued taking the drug ranged from moderate to complete relief. In addition, four patients had marked improvement and two had moderate improvement but discontinued use of the drug because of side effects. Five patients with a mild response and seven with no response also discontinued methazolamide therapy. The maximal mean daily dose was 203 mg for all patients and 129 mg (maintenance dose) for the patients who continued taking the drug. Side effects consisted primarily of somnolence, nausea, epigastric discomfort, anorexia, paresthesias, and numbness. No aplastic anemia was noted in any of the patients. The median duration of follow-up was 6 months (range, 10 weeks to 29 months). The therapeutic effect seemed unrelated to a family history of tremor, the effect of alcohol, or the responsiveness to propranolol or primidone. Methazolamide may be an effective drug in the treatment of some patients with essential tremor, particularly those with head and voice tremor.
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